We Find Rare Four-Cylinder Engines In Production Cars

We Find Rare Four-Cylinder Engines In Production Cars

Important takeaways

  • Celebrate the unsung hero of car engines – the four cylinder. Powerful and versatile, they are found everywhere from small kei-cars to large pickups.
  • Meet the rare four-cylinder engine – Subaru’s Impreza 22b STI boasts a turbocharged 2.2-liter flat-4 with a real output of around 350hp.
  • Chrysler’s TC Four-Cylinder is second to none, boasting 200 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque, built in limited numbers with a custom Cosworth head.

Four-cylinder engines are easy to overlook. They don’t have the sound of a V8, and they usually don’t have the power either. But there are plenty of powerful four-cylinder engines that have powered unique, rare and high-performance cars. You can find four-cylinder engines in everything from the smallest Japanese kei-cars to full-size American pickups like the Chevrolet Silverado, and even pickup trucks. That’s a testament to how powerful they can be.

We wanted to give four pans its due. To find a rare four-cylinder engine in a production car and give it the attention it deserves. We didn’t count cars before the 1940s, and we didn’t count companies that built only a few cars before they folded. This is a rarer production four-cylinder, after all.

In order to provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was obtained from Subaru, Stellantis, Ford, Caterham, Honda, and the GM Heritage Center, and other authoritative sources, including Allpar. .


Highest Rated Horsepower in Factory Four Cylinder Normally Aspirated Engines

With forced induction and electrification increasing the output of small engines, we look back at the king of naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines.

Subaru Impreza 22b STI Boasts Rare Four-Cylinder

In the 1990s, the World Rally Championship was a hot ticket for automakers who wanted to showcase their all-wheel drive systems. Subaru and Mitsubishi duked it out in the WRC, with Subaru bringing out the hottest and hottest Impreza WRX STI models and Mitsubishi rolling out its Lancer Evolution series, building faster and faster production cars to ensure their rally cars are the they are faster.

For the 1998 model year, Subaru wanted to celebrate its WRC performance. Three consecutive manufacturer names combined with the company’s 40th anniversary and the company’s engineers dedicated themselves to creating one of the best Imprezas ever.

They created one engine that can call itself the rarest four-cylinder production around: The 2.2-lier turbocharged flat-four found under the hood of the Subaru Impreza 22b STI,

Subaru EJ22G specifications


Subaru EJ22G


2,212 cc

Horse Power

276 hp @ 6,000 rpm


268 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm

Manufactured units


(Source: Subaru)

Officially 276 Horses, But Actual Figures Are Much Higher

The car was called the 22b because of its 2.2-liter engine instead of the 2.0-liter in the regular WRX STI. The 22b four-cylinder EJ22G was not just a regular EJ20 with bigger cylinders. The engine was a mix of factory Subaru parts and enough internal changes to make this engine his own.

The four-flat had features like sodium-filled exhaust valves that could help wick excess heat from the combustion chambers and hollow-core valves to reduce rotational weight. It can rev up to 8,000 rpm, 1,000 rpm higher than the regular STI. The

Subaru’s official horsepower figure was 276, and 267 lb-ft of torque. Of course, this was a time when special conspiracies in Japan meant that no one was willing to claim more power than that. Estimates put the actual number closer to 350 hp, and it can do 0-60 in less than four seconds.


The Most Reliable and Desirable Four-Cylinder Engine Ever Produced

Conventional four-cylinder engines are one of the most popular car configurations, but one is more reliable than all the others.

Subaru Drops Engine In One Special Race

  • 421 copies of the WRC special event
  • Only 21 left Japan

Other sexually transmitted diseases of 22b were car too. Wide fenders, big tires and suspension from Bilstein and Eibach, no radio or even ABS. But this is about the V8-killing four-cylinder, not the rest of the 22b, no matter how cool the package was.

Subaru produced this car in very limited numbers. Only 400 were made for Japan, with 16 for England, five for Australia, and three prototypes. The EJ22G was never used again, making it the rarest four-cylinder in production with only 421 official copies.

Second-Rare Production Four-Cylinder From Chrysler

Bring the Trailer

Chrysler TC Four-Cylinder Models


2,213 cc

Horse Power

200 hp


220 lb-ft

(Source: All par)

Remember the Chrysler TC and Maserati? The oddball convertible was built at a very strange time when Chrysler was high on K-Car dollars coming out of its recent bankruptcy and used some of it to buy Lamborghini and also a small part of Maserati. Lee Iacocca, who was head of Chrysler at the time, was friends with Maserati owner Alejandro de Tomaso. Yes, the same De Tomaso that made the Pantera.

The two designed the TC, short for “turbocharged coupe,” even though it wasn’t a coupe. Maserati built it in Italy before shipping it to the United States.

Google News

Add HotCars to your Google News feed.

The Turbocharged Coupe Needed a Turbocharged Engine

Bring the Trailer

Chrysler needed a turbocharged engine for the Turbocharged Coupe, and went international with the design. The TC debuted with an engine block not entirely related to the Chrysler 2.2 used in cars like the Omni GLH and LeBaron, but it was different. The engine was fitted with a custom 16-valve cylinder head made by F1 engine builder Cosworth. The head was designed by Maserati with a cog drive for the cam instead of a belt. It also had new intake and exhaust manifolds from Maserati and a custom turbocharger from IHI.

The TC 2.2, as it was known, made 200 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. Just 45 horses less than the 1988 Chevrolet Corvette and almost as good as the Ford Mustang.

Most TCs Got Low Power 4 Or V6

You might be confused about this engine, considering that most 7,000 or so TCs had a 160-hp four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter V6. And you would be right. Those cars have three- or four-speed automatics, too, putting out more power.

Chrysler and Maserati only built 500 cars with the TC 2.2 engine. Each of them got a five-speed manual from Getrag, making this Mopar almost an Italian grand tourer with the rare second cylinder four in a production car.



The Largest Four-Cylinder Displacement Engine Ever in a Production Car

This big four-cylinder engine has surprising links to the golden age of the American muscle car maker.

Other Rare Production Four-Cylinder Engines

GM Heritage Center

There are many engines that came close to making this list, but we were eliminated as the rarest. Reasons include being recalled from the market or not different enough from the mass production version to be too rare. Some of them are still worth mentioning, though.

1923 Chevrolet Copper-Cooled

One of the most interesting of those is the 1923 Chevrolet Series M Copper-Cooled. The 2.2-liter four was designed as an air-cooled engine, rather than the usual liquid jacket cooling. The copper-cooled name comes from the copper fins attached to the cylinders, which are meant to absorb heat from the engine.

The design was controversial, but GM decided to build 50,000 per year. The company only built 759 before realizing it was a massive failure. Only 500 people passed the factory, 300 reached the showrooms, and 100 went into the hands of customers. All but two of those were bought and destroyed by Chevy. The remaining two live in museums, and one, surprisingly, in the Henry Ford Museum.

Ford Racing Puma 1.7-Liter Zetec


From 1997 to 2002, Ford of Europe built a three-door coupe based on the Fiesta and a funky model called the Puma. Because sport compacts were all the rage in the late 1990s, Ford created a fast one called the Racing Puma. It was intended to get a 1.7-liter turbo Zetec engine, but the high costs were imposed on Ford engineers. It ended up with a version of Ford’s 1.7-liter Sigma four-cylinder found in the regular Puma, with a new exhaust and software to help make 153 hp instead of the stock 123. Only 500 were built.

Caterham Blackbird 1.1-Litre


Does putting a bigger bike engine in a car make it rarer? We’re not sure, but it’s worth mentioning. Caterham Cars is a British company that has been building its lightweight Caterham 7, from a design it bought from Lotus, since 1973. Over the years, the compact carmaker has sourced four-cylinder engines from Ford and Rover, but they are rare. . models take advantage of the car’s half-ton weight to use motorcycle engines.

The Caterham Blackbird used the 1.1 liter four-cylinder engine from the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird, which was briefly the fastest production motorcycle in the world. The engine screamer got 164 hp and 126 lb-ft and could rev around 12,000 rpm. Honda made more than 85,000 copies of this bike, but Caterham fitted the engine to only 15 cars.

Sources: Subaru, Stellantis, Ford, Caterham, Honda, GM Heritage Center, All par